Here in Delray Beach, a FL city leader in the plastics problem, we held a Town Hall meeting last Monday night to discuss the role of various stakeholders in tackling the problem. Unfortunately, one day later, on Tuesday, the Florida legislature voted to obliterate the home rule rights of local communities to solve the challenges posed by the flood of plastic waste.

 

Plastics Problem Solving

So now what can concerned citizens, like us WiseTribers, do to pursue solutions to this enormous societal challenge?

Using tactics that don’t require local ordinances, we are re-focusing our attention on the role of businesses in solving the plastics problem. As our Town Hall showed, thankfully Delray is home to several forward looking companies that use business as a means of stemming the tide of plastics choking our oceans.  They combine best business practices with concern for our oceans and Planet.

The Town Hall meeting highlighted how businesses are applying best practices of sustainability as a service to their customers, competitive advantage and simply the “right thing to do”.  

Despite what we learned on Tuesday about the legislature’s mistaken decisions, the actions of local businesses give us hope that there are alternative approaches to fighting the plastics problem that do not require intervention by our elected leaders at the State level.

Sustainability as a Service

The hotel manager of the Delray Marriott spoke about listening to their customers to guide how sustainability is being built into their service. He also explained how his purchasing department is seeking new vendors that replace plastic with sustainable and biodegradable materials in utensils, flatware, and packaging. The branch manager of Trader Joe’s showed how they have replaced plastic bags with paper, work with suppliers to reduce packaging, and display some products with little or no packaging.

What became very clear Monday night is that by being purposeful in all their business practices companies are able to uncover countless ways large and small to begin reducing use of plastics.

Just as we as individuals are looking for ways to be more sustainable, businesses are doing the same. Several speakers showed how looking at their entire manufacturing process enabled them to discover that waste byproducts could be turned into profitable new product lines.

By clicking on the links below you can see how local businesses are turning challenges into opportunities.

Trader Joes mission is to make sure customers get the best food and beverage values while also making sure they get all the information needed to consume wisely. Check out all the ways Trader Joe’s is reducing packaging in their stores to be virtually plastic free by 2025.

The entire chain of Marriott hotels is researching and implementing sustainability efforts from eliminating plastic straws to changing drinking cups to purchasing new to-go products.

Delivery Dudes app is now  allowing customers to designate no utensils or napkins. And Saltwater Brewery is producing beer rings and packaging that is made from brewing waste and is edible and compostable.

Think how wise the world would be if we adopted standard business practices that purposefully solved social problems by incorporating social benefits into business strategies and profit calculations.

Role of consumers

Concerned citizens such as WiseTribers can play an active role in this transformation of business. They can patronize local and national firms that market their sustainability bonafides.  They should support sustainability heroes such as WiseTribe’s social good partners Purgreens, JuiceBuzz, and Farmers Table not only by purchasing their services and products but by spreading the word, liking their FaceBook pages, or offering gift cards for these companies to friends and relatives.

Take Action for a Wiser World

To put it mildly, it is distressing that our rights are being diminished as Home Rule is nibbled away piece by piece.  As aware, concerned advocates, we owe it to ourselves and families to take a stand on what we rightly believe are matters of self determination. Our elected officials need to be held accountable. Our city officials must be encouraged and supported in their efforts to preserve Home Rule.

We encourage all concerned citizens in Delray to serve as role models by revamping your habits and lifestyle and by sharing your actions to inspire others using the hashtag #NoPlasticsDelray.

WiseTribe is all about grassroots activism to work for a better world. We need to be aware and attuned to issues impacting our families and neighborhoods if we are to preserve and protect our quality of life. Let’s work together to rollback these reversals and vote down any prospective bills that would further undermine our local rights.